Bonnie S. Benwick and I had the toughest time selecting a snack food for this year’s Super Bowl Recipe Smackdown, the sixth annual contest in which two Food staffers go head-to-head, designing bites that eventually will be overshadowed by football, TV commercials and even semi-relevant halftime entertainers.
Many of the best bites for TV watching, after all, already had been explored by Bonnie and Food editor-on-leave Joe Yonan during previous Smackdowns — foods such as nachos, chili and guacamole. They even covered the all-encompassing “meat” category a few years ago.
Ultimately, we opted for salsas this year, which, ahem, jibes perfectly with the two East Coast teams that will compete for the Super Bowl crown on Sunday. Looking to shed her status as the Washington Generals of the annual Smackdown, Bonnie engineered a salsa recipe as complicated as the Mars orbiter (not!, she says), incorporating four kinds of peppers, ingredients from three separate cultures and a crunchy element that renders tortilla chips almost moot.
I made a Tinker Toy salsa (guacamole with add-ins, she says) by comparison — a gringo’s homage to the late Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo’s creamy green sauce served at the Tex-Mex restaurants that still carry her name.
Later this week, you’ll have a chance to vote for your favorite salsa — Bonnie’s or mine. But in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a look back at the Super Bowl Recipe Smackdowns of years past. Both Joe and Bonnie put some work into these recipes.
Smackdown I: Chili
Smackdown II: Guacamole
Smackdown III: Meats
Smackdown IV: Nachos
Smackdown V: Healthful snacks